The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

Image via goodreads I first heard Amanda Palmer’s name when I mentioned to a friend that I was going to a reading being giving by Neil Gaiman to a friend a little over a year ago now, I think. The two were married I was told. I thought that was really neat. It was also the first time I heard mention of the Dresden Dolls. Given the time period of the Dresden Dolls, I am surprised I hadn’t heard of them sooner, especially from my friend…

Neil talked about Amanda during the reading. Just listening to him talk about her made me think I would love to get to know this woman. So, I started following her on Twitter. Off and on I read her blog. And then she announced she was writing a book based on a TED Talk she had given in 2013. It was fascinating and enlightening to watch her progress over Twitter. The creative endeavor (regardless of form) has always held my interest. (I love reading/watching works in progress.) The day she tweeted that the book was done I cheered and applauded out loud. It startled my two cats. And I knew that I would buy the book the moment it was offered to the world.

I think it was a few days after its release that I saw it pop up on Amazon and immediately purchased it. I didn’t realize that Amanda had published with an imprint of Hatchett until the next day when she mentioned something about it on Twitter. Normally I would have noticed that right away, but I was so excited that it slipped by. I was already 20% in to the book by then…

I’ve read plenty of non-fiction books, but nothing so raw and so open as this book. It truly is hard to put into words. Amanda voiced all of my own fears as a creative, as a person, as a human-being in this book. There is a section in the book, it takes place in Scotland (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I am talking about. If not – have tissues ready), I fell in love with Amanda when I read it. I connected with her on a level that was unexpected and I hadn’t even met her in person.

Amanda talks a lot about artists in her book, but the premise expands to all of us as humans. The connections she talks about is the essence of community, and at the core of it, communities help. No one should be afraid to ask for help. It shouldn’t hurt to ask for help. One of my favorite sayings is: What’s the harm in asking? The worst that can happen is they say no. It’s true at face value. And yet, there is so much more going on. Even though I believe in this simple statement, I still find myself hesitating to ask for help on many occasions.

What Amanda has done, at least for me, is give me the awareness to stop and think about why I am afraid to ask for help. To examine the issues that exist and to deal with them. To know that I am not alone in this endeavor. To stop making excuses and value myself as a person. To See and Be Seen.

Should you read this book? Yes, absolutely. Go read it right now.

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